ADT: Alarm Technology Evolution

One of the reasons that ADT has such a dominant presence in the security industry is because ADT helped shape the industry from the very beginning.

What started as an offshoot of a telegraph service in the late 1800s has grown into the largest electronic security provider in the United States. Thanks in large part to ADT, alarm monitoring has evolved from brass knobs and crude electrical circuits to wireless interactivity and whole-home security solutions.

ADT: Alarm monitoring on the cutting edge

More than 6 million homeowners and businesses trust ADT security service to provide the industry’s most comprehensive alarm monitoring. It’s a high-tech, 24/7 network that features:

  • Four interconnected Customer Monitoring Centers strategically located around the U.S.
  • More than 2,000 dispatch operators specially trained to provide rapid emergency response
  • Built-in backup capabilities to help ensure uninterrupted service

ADT-monitored security systems help protect people and property from a number of threats, including burglary, fire, extreme temperatures and carbon monoxide. In a typical year, the ADT monitoring network acts on 29 million alarm signals and responds to approximately 50,000 crimes in progress.

To fully appreciate the ADT alarm monitoring network, however, it helps to know about the company’s history of integrating security and technology.

A history of ADT, alarm systems innovator

From its founding in 1874, American District Telegraph (ADT) was a leader in the messaging industry. Early efforts helped lead to the development of electric-powered “call boxes” used by night watchmen guarding warehouses and other businesses. At a time when telephone service was still in its infancy, the call boxes provided an easier way to contact police and fire departments in an emergency.

By the early 1900s, ADT had moved away from messaging services entirely. The next 80 years would see ADT become a leader in the security business.

The company made ground-breaking strides in the areas of automated threat detection and monitoring. Call boxes gave way to solid-state circuitry and finally to computers. In the 1980s, ADT introduced central station monitoring, a forerunner of today’s Customer Monitoring Centers.

Looking back on the evolution of modern security, it’s easy to see the presence of ADT as a constant driving force.

ADT: Alarm systems for today and tomorrow

In the 1800s, night watchmen pulled levers on ADT call boxes to call for help. Today, ADT customers can reach emergency dispatch in seconds by pressing a button on their digital keypads.

In the 1940s, ADT alarm monitoring used the newly developed Telewave and Teletherm systems to detect break-ins and fires. Today, ADT customers rely on infrared sensors to help protect their families and belongings. Customers can even use smartphones to remotely access their security systems, thermostats, surveillance cameras and more using ADT Pulse® Interactive Solutions.
motion sensors
Today’s ADT monitored equipment takes the form of sleek, compact motion detectors and door sensors. Homeowners who no longer have landline phones – or belong to a generation that grew up on wireless calling – have the option of cellular monitoring for their ADT monitored alarm systems.

It’s hard to imagine home security without ADT. America’s #1 security company shares a connection with alarm technology that goes back more than a century, much longer than the other security providers have been in existence. Equally important is the fact that ADT’s past has left the company, and its customers, well-positioned for the future.


Call now and speak with a security representative about ADT security.